prepared days before the storm hit, and immediately after the storm we were on the streets. fema started showing up with equipment approximately 5-7 days later. >> reporter: all right. so the issue is you were saying the reason why the houses butter in breezy point and in the rockaways is what? >> accessibility. the fire department could not get to it. >> reporter: rye? >> debris, sand, water in the streets. >> reporter: so they really needed you guys to clear it before you could stop the burning of those houses. so what we're seeing, megyn, is learnly -- essentially, the weight of this is approaching the weight of the empire state building, the amount of garbage and debris, and what we're seeing is memory, houses in these piles, also you're going to see washing machines, refrigerators off in the distance. and, megyn, the other story, too, is the epa and the county of health is here, right, chief hickey? why are they here in that regard? >> the epa's here to capture any chemicals, motor oil, toxic, and here to monitor also.